Just a Few More Pounds...

Have you ever felt like losing five pounds? I have, and it turned out to be the beginning of a 15-year diet which nearly killed me.

When I was a preteen, I was severely bullied, my younger brother died, and I was sexually abused. This left me feeling very insecure about myself. I was afraid to talk to my parents about it. I feared upsetting them, so I justified my silence – things weren’t really that bad.

In this vulnerable state, I asked a guy I knew to be a bit rude if he would honestly tell me if I needed to lose weight. He said, “Just a few pounds would help.” He gave me the incentive I needed. The next morning I began my diet.

I began to equate love with being thin.

It didn’t take me very long to lose five pounds, and it made me feel really good. I figured if that made such a difference, another five pounds would be even better. As I continued to lose weight, I gained popularity, friends and boyfriends – everything I craved.

I became obsessed with perfection, and didn’t dare have anything less than straight As. I exercised every day, running as many as 10 miles, doing as many as 1,000 sit-ups, and doing aerobics to get rid of any calories I might have eaten.

On the outside, I worked hard to make it look like I had it all together.

After six months, severe dizzy spells caused me to see a doctor. When he told me I had anorexia nervosa, I thought, “How could someone who weighs 105 pounds have an eating disorder?” People who heard my diagnosis asked the same thing. Some even suggested I didn’t look anorexic. So I decided to push harder and become the perfect anorexic.

For the next 15 years I struggled constantly, nearly dying twice. I was under medical observation and involved in therapy during a great deal of that time.

Still, on the outside, I worked hard to make it look like I had it all together.

My lowest point was during my second hospitalization. I had heart palpitations and severe dehydration. I was very close to death. To nourish my 82-pound body, I was being force-fed 3,000 calories a day through a tube to my stomach. But I drained the tube in the garbage under my bed and exercised furiously whenever I could get away with it.

But there in my hospital bed things began to change. I was alone, face-to-face with myself.

I began to write out a list of lies I had come to believe, contrasted with the truth I knew deep in my heart. As I wrote, I began to crave the ability to believe the truth. After that, extensive therapy, medical help, and the prayers and love of my family and husband helped me take back my life when anorexia would have stolen it.

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